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Affordability questions remain on sluggish T-72B3M upgrade

5th November 2020 - 13:15 GMT | by Alex Orlov in Moscow

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Progress has been slow and T-723BM modernisation could cost twice as much as the previous T-72B3 upgrade

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has confirmed that all T-72 MBTs will be upgraded to the T-72B3M standard — but this programme has barely made headway since it began in 2016.

About 250 tanks had been upgraded to the T-72B3M standard by the start of 2020. Using figures from Shephard Defence Insight, this equates to just over 3% of the entire Russian Ground Forces fleet of more than 8,000 T-72s, although the Russian MoD in May announced that 120 more T-72B3Ms would be provided by the end of the year.

Many of the T-72s in the Russian inventory are mothballed

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